These crispy, unusual chips pair as well with a gourmet burger as they do with a main course salad.

Rough skinned and uber-starchy Taro corms (Colocasia esculenta) are readily available at world markets, and whatever you don’t use, you can plant in the garden.

Many taro species (not all) have characteristic black squiggles throughout the corm that become very evident when cooking. Don’t panic, there’s nothing wrong with them.

Taro must be thoroughly cooked, but will need less frying time than sweet potato species which are less starchy—use separate bowls when preparing.

Enliven the bowl of chips by using both white-fleshed Cuban sweet potatoes and traditional orange tubers. If you’re not growing them yourself for both the draping foliage and the eventual tubers, you’ll find them in the produce section of most markets.


4–5 taro corms

1 sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)

1 white-fleshed Cuban sweet potato (also Ipomoea batatas)

taro and sweet potato tubers

Oil for frying

Sea salt or garlic salt


Using gloves (some people are sensitive to taro), peel the taro and plunge into a water bath. Peel the sweet potatoes and do the same, using separate bowls. Using a mandoline on a very fine setting (1/16 inch), slice the vegetables and plunge back into water. Allow to sit in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Drain the slices and pat dry. Heat the oil to 375°F in a large wok or deep fat fryer and fry the taro in batches for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, turning occasionally. Sweet potatoes will take longer—up to 10 minutes or until crisp.

Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with sea salt or garlic salt.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer or side.

taro and sweet potato vines

A mix of grocery store taros, turmeric and sweet potatoes in the foreground weave together with ‘real’ ornamentals: Coleus ‘Main Street Beale Street,’ Popcorn Plant, and ‘Desana Lime’ Sweet Potato Vine. Photo from Tropical Plants and How To Love Them (2021)


tropical plants and how to love them